Repowering Te Rere Hau Wind Farm
Repowering Te Rere Hau Wind Farm
Fast-Track consent to repower Te Rere Hau was approved 19 May 2023. This provides an important pathway for NZ Windfarms to unlock the full potential of its world-class wind resource and increase its renewable energy production.
Repowering will see our current two-bladed fleet replaced with larger, more efficient three-bladed turbines, that offer significant acoustic and visual advantages. This project will offer a range of economic, employment, social and environmental benefits, both locally and nationally.
We look forward to sharing information with you as we move through this process and more information becomes available.
For any comments or queries please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Project
Over the last 10 years, wind energy has developed significantly. Wind turbines today can generate a lot more electricity than they could a decade ago. Te Rere Hau wind farm sits in a high wind-speed location, but our data shows that we could be making better use of the great Tararua Ranges wind resource.
Te Rere Hau wind farm currently operates 91 small turbines (30m hub height). The approved resource consent allows us to replace the older, smaller wind turbines with larger, more efficient designs.
Repowering offers a range of economic, employment, social and environmental benefits, both locally and nationally. It will:
significantly increase the amount of renewable energy NZ Windfarms will be able to generate
offer significant noise reduction for nearby neighbours
bring jobs to the region during planning and construction
help in Aotearoa New Zealand’s efforts to mitigate climate change and transition to a low-emissions economy.
What would the turbines look and sound like?
The proposed new tri-bladed wind turbines are bigger, but quieter than the existing turbines. The average energy output has the potential to increase by a factor of four to five times assuming all 30 turbines are constructed. That’s the same as going from powering 16,000 households to 80,000 households. It’s enough to power 1700 electric cars or allow five mid-sized dairy factories to transition away from coal boilers. Repowering to the larger turbines would reduce the number of turbines from 91 to up to 30 turbines.
In general, the operational noise of the wind farm would reduce following repowering. Bigger turbines cut in at lower wind speeds and lower rotor speeds, and at full power they’re much quieter than smaller turbines.
The turbines being considering are two to three generations ahead of the existing fleet. They include direct drive technology (no gearbox), much larger rotors, and special operating modes to reduce noise levels. New turbine blades have design features like serrated edge technology - a pattern that helps improve airflow over the turbine blade, resulting in less turbulence, better aerodynamics, and reduced noise as the blade cuts through the air.
While the noise level reduction would be significant, the turbines would be significantly larger. Larger turbines would bring Te Rere Hau turbines into visual alignment and uniformity with the wind farm sites to the north and south. Because the blades are bigger, their rotation is slower and much more graceful than the existing shorter ones.
Once installed, the new wind turbines will have a life span of around 20 years.
Introduced in 2020, the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-Track Consenting) Act 2020 established a new, short-term consenting process to fast-track projects that can boost employment and economic recovery. The Act self-repealed in July 2023.
It aimed to urgently promote employment to support Aotearoa New Zealand’s recovery from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, and to support the certainty of ongoing investment across the country, while promoting sustainable management of natural and physical resources.
In December 2021, we applied for the Te Rere Hau Wind Farm Repowering Project to be considered for referral under the Fast-Track Act.
In late March 2022, the Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment, accepted our application for referral. The Minister agreed that the Project meets the referral criteria, in that it has the potential to offer a range of economic, employment, social and environmental benefits, both locally and nationally. These benefits include employment, climate change mitigation and a faster transition to a low-emissions economy.
In November 2022, NZ Windfarms lodged a resource consent application directly with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), for the Project to be considered by an expert consenting panel.
What’s happening now?
On 7 February 2023, an expert consenting panel was appointed to consider the application. The Panel members were Judge Craig Thompson (Chair), David McMahon, and Lorraine Stephenson. The Panel came and visited the site on 17 February 2023.
On 22 February 2023 the Panel decided who would be invited to comment on our application. This comprised local councils, iwi authorities/Treaty settlement entities, owners and occupiers of our wind farm site and adjacent landowners. Comments from these parties to the EPA closed on 15 March 2023.
On 12 April 2023 the Panel issued draft consent conditions and invited those same parties above to provide comments (if any) to the draft consent conditions by 5pm 19 April 2023.
On 19 May 2023, the Panel approved the Fast-Track consent to repower Te Rere Hau Wind Farm.
The link below will take you to the EPA website where you can access information about the panel, the panel process, the application documents, the list of invited parties, key timeframes, correspondence to and from the EPA, the Panel's decision and resource consent conditions.
If you have any questions about this project or would like to be involved in future community engagement, please email email@example.com
The fast-track consenting documents are available on the Environmental Protection Authority's website, www.epa.govt.nz.
The last community dinner was held on 16 June 2022 at Globe Restaurant, Palmerston North.